The Last Thing He Expected To Hear On Father’s Day

We all know what to say on Father’s Day.  A version of acknowledgment and affection is typically the first thing…

…but what is the last thing you would ever say?

Would you ever admit that parts of your childhood were difficult?  That Dad sometimes made you feel scared by his yelling or punishments?

That’s the conversation my Dad and I had this past Sunday.

I had to get really real about what my truth was before braving this conversation.  I reflected on the times that I hid in my bedroom, afraid to come out.

It’s easy to get stuck there.  In the negative.  In the blame.

But is that the whole truth?

My answer is no.

The whole truth is that my parents did the best they could raising us five kids.  We had shelter, clothing, food, and love.

We had a cabin on a beautiful lake, ideal for swimming and fishing until we were sunburnt and the allotted two mini candy bars and one soda each day were consumed.

I was supported financially and emotionally through graduate school, and developed a strong sense of Confidence, Drive, and Independence.

My dad gave me this gift.

AND he was scary at times when I was growing up.  I hid in my bedroom.  Kept my mouth closed.  Sheltered my heart.

As a 30-something female I have to work to let go of this fear and step into my own Power.  Strengthen my own voice by telling the truth so that I can heal my heart, and my relationship with my dad.

We had a nearly 2-hour conversation about this on Father’s Day and I was so glad God gave me the courage to do so because my dad really listened.

He was open to hearing the truth and said, “I respect you for caring about our relationship enough to come to me rather than pull away.”

It caused me to wonder how many others struggle with their fathers. How many others tell the truth, the WHOLE truth, which is couched in Love and Acceptance?

As a Mad2Glad Parent Coach, I strive to create Peaceful families that Enjoy being together, and that means telling the truth about parenting tactics that harm relationships with children and offering new strategies that help them become productive, happy human beings.

What if all children grew up in a home where they felt safe to express themselves fully?  Would they be happier earlier in life?

Would they avoid the struggle I went through in my 20’s and 30’s, deciding if I wanted to be in relationship with my parents?

I hope so because I Believe in Families and Harmony and Love.

If you had the courage to say Anything to Your father what would it be?  I’d love to hear it and support you in strengthening your voice!


Leave a comment below.


  • Beth Lehman says:

    Thank you so much for sharing some of your personal story. It touched my heart!! Congratulations on your bravery and for your Dad’s good response.
    I am 63 and did not have the same success separating from my parents in my mid twenties.. I spent much of my adult life wrestling with and re-evaluating my decision to withdraw from my very enmeshed alcoholic family system . My honest talks couched in love did not have the same results that your did. Finally, I am at peace with my decision but it was a long journey to that peace. I have felt very alone on my journey at times. It is just not acceptable to disengage from one’s family-especially your parents. Yours, was the perfect message to receive around Father’s Day. I have spent time since remembering the GOOD things that I liked about my Dad.
    Thank you for sharing and for the work you do!

    Beth Lehman

    • Samantha Moe says:

      I’m glad this was touching for you, Beth. As you know, enmeshed family dynamics can be stressful, confusing, and draining. Sending support and love your way!

  • Darcy says:

    Well done, Samantha. I have great reverence for what has rung true in my personal experience, which is that every time someone makes initiative to clear something, it ripples out to benefit all of us. Sharing the gift of resolve and courage makes it all the more accessible to and motivating for the rest of us. Thank you for sharing. As Beth said, congratulations to you and your father both. Like Beth, I also come from a family run by alcoholism and like you, part of that was a whole lot of predictable unpredictability and big fear for my wellbeing and mistrust in myself and life generally speaking. There is no doubt I have a PTSD to sort as I serve as parent. I have grown up in many big and beautiful ways over my decades, establishing boundaries and working sometimes tirelessly to uphold them. So much so I often find myself wondering what I’m even doing and how I am finally going to feel cut loose from this invisible netting I continue to feel caught up in. For heaven’s sake, honestly. Every Mother and Father’s Day I go into deep reflection for these reasons namely at this stage, for my own authenticity. I have long desired to set the record straight, expressing to my parents my truth, believing it will be the key to set me free. But also so that I feel I have permission to embrace the intimacy of my story without hinderance. But like Beth, I know it will not be heard or received. I am not sure of the answer for myself just yet in how to fully gift myself the sovereignty I seek around this. It is safe to say, I am still in process. Because of the scenario still being “live” per se, I have to learn to heal and cut myself free, work and heal relations with my parents in ways other than direct communication. I have often felt the urge to pipe up on your online community as to the weight my distorted upbringing bears on my experience of the aspect of myself as parent as well as my parenting process- two different but significant deals. I know the degree of devotion I insist upon, to maturing the parenting I do with my kid and myself is because of the deficits, missing parts, the holes, disorder and disease I endure with my own parents. I’m still working on writing this part of my story. The part that is informed by perspective and wisdom, character, refinement and will. What I know is that the level of my investment in all of this in my early years as a parent is serving me in exponential ways. I am mindfully seizing the opportunity of catharsis allowing it all to come back up to the surface for examination, filtration and rearrangement as I parent my own child. In another light, it’s been somewhat like a redo opportunity as I experienced a taste of the dynamics of my youth again with my parents as they became grandparents and I as a new mom found myself once again in a state of unique vulnerability. This time as an adult but as a result of one of the ubiquitous blessings of the onset of motherhood. I have had the opportunity to lay a whole new foundation from the ground up by clearing out the cobwebs, claiming, seeing, hearing, knowing, acknowledging, valuing, nurturing and repositioning myself without condition. Out of pure volition to do myself justice, whose hands it is ultimately in at the end of the day anyway. Serenity prayer. It’s true I am in process with this, but now that I’ve taken to writing this out, I realize I may have just answered my earlier quandary. I am finding my way of authenticity, healing and personal empowerment. I guess I’ll likely just be sticking to the rote Mother and Father’s Day greeting because I am working with what is and I know what is what. I know who I am and how to take care of myself now. And that is what matters. Salut. Amen. And cheers to you and your and “the” work, Samantha.

    • Samantha says:

      Darcy, your introspection and eloquence is striking (as usual :). As we all do our work to unravel our family histories and create current foundations I find that two things are important. 1- To remember that childhood doesn’t end. We’re always a child and embracing the process of life allows us to see everything as a gift for growth and potential. 2- It always pays to speak the truth. I struggle to see this and “how” it pays but I’m learning to trust it as each time I do I feel a sense of relief/freedom. Results aren’t always positive when we speak the truth to another physical person so oftentimes I find myself communicating to the essence of who they are in my mind. The relief and freedom I gain from this is the same. Sending wishes for peace and resolution your way!

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